Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Oven-dried Cherry Tomatoes

I've so enjoyed the amazing Sun Gold cherry tomatoes from my garden this summer that I thought I'd try saving some for later in the year. On Saturday I dried some in the oven in the simplest way: washed them (here is a mix of the Sun Golds with some good-but-not-as-wonderful red grape tomatoes), cut them in half, and set them cut side up on a baking tray I'd brushed with olive oil. I didn't salt them or sprinkle them with herbs, though one can do that.

After about four hours at 210 F. the tomatoes above had turned into the tomatoes below. That wasn't a scientically determined length of time, and was too long for some of the smaller tomatoes. While most were still somewhat soft and leathery, some had actually turned brown and crispy -- tomato chips!

Here (below) is a closer view of tomatoes after drying. I let them cool, scooped them into a one-quart zip-lock bag, and popped them into the freezer. It seemed a remarkably small amount of dried tomatoes for such a large tray, but it's certainly several recipes' worth. They can be rehydrated in hot water, broth or wine, and then soaked in olive oil if desired.

I'd never tried drying anything before, so please don't consider me an expert in this! Next time, I think I'll pack the tray fuller, start checking them sooner, and remove ones that are done while leaving others in to get more drying time. Or maybe I should invest in a food dehydrator, which is probably more energy-efficient and operates at a lower temperature than my electric oven.


Robyn said...

I've read that an oven has to work 25-30% harder if leaving the door open (to get some air flow) during dehydration. On average a food dehydrator only costs about 8 cents per hour, electricity wise, to operate. The tomatoes look good. Best.

Mary S. said...

I did the same thing this week using paste tomatoes, but I set the oven to 190 only and left it on overnight. I've had the same thoughts about a food dehydrator, but haven't priced them yet. These look great.

dAwN said...

those look absolutely yummy! I do have a dehydrator..I use maily for drying mushrooms after i pick them.

Let me know if u find out how it would work with a dehydrator.
they sure do look good!

Jim H. said...

In Sicily and other sunny places, folks dry tomatoes by hanging them outside on a string, often over the door or window. Next year, I think I'll ship a boxfull from our Minnesota garden to some Greek island and then fly there and spend the rest of the summer watching the tomatoes dry in the sun.

A dehydrator has no romance!

Patrick said...

We seem to have an abundance of cherry tomatoes this year, too! Mine are in the oven right now.